Early in the morning I got notification that both schools would be closed due to snow. Luckily Steve wasn’t going into work as the conditions were worse inland, so he offered to come and look after the children while I went to my dentist appointment. I didn’t bother putting F in nursery, even though it was open, as both boys were home anyway, so all three kids ended up at home.
My appointment for fitting was at 10:05. The first thing they had to do was fit the attachments. These are little lumps of cement that stick to your teeth and provide additional force when the braces are on to get your teeth into the right spot. I have about 12,000 of them. Many more than I’ve seen in other photos, including over my front teeth.
Attachments make the aligners more obvious – I’ve seen them without any and then they really do blend in well. In my case, because of all the lumps and bumps, my braces are more Visalign than Invisalign, but nevermind. I was never under the illusion that people wouldn’t see them and I don’t really mind that part so much.
Sticking on the attachments is a fiddly process with glue, tweezers and a template that they have to take on and off. It was around 30 minutes of lying in the chair with two people working in my mouth. They had to put vaseline on the sides of my mouth to stop their rubber gloves from chaffing my skin, but I’ve still got a split on the left side at the corner of my mouth (not my dentist’s fault – the weather is so cold my skin is dry as sandpaper so prone to cracks).
Once that was done I got a small break while they prepared to file my teeth. During this time I can tell you that the attachments felt like little spikes. Talking and smiling made them rub horribly against the inside of my mouth.
Because of my crowding I have a fair bit of IPR (interproximal reduction), which is basically another word for filing down the sides of your teeth.
When the dentist did this I was convinced I would have nothing but stumps left. It felt like a drastic amount of filing, but afterwards I couldn’t really see much change, which was a relief.
Finally she pushed both my upper and lower aligners onto my teeth and I was done. It turns out I only have 17 aligners to work through, and I change them every two weeks, so that means that I only have to go through the new aligner discomfort 16 more times and if all goes perfectly (which it may not), my teeth will be in the right place by 25th October.
I’ll post a pic of them in place asap – it’s too dark this evening to get a clear one from my phone.
When I got out of the dentist’s chair it was like trying to talk with a mouthful of machinery. It all felt enormous. Then I got to have a go taking them in and out. The top one wasn’t too bad, but the bottom one is fixed so tightly I almost bent my thumbnails back trying to get it off.
I went to the shops, stocked up on food (pending snowstorm), and went home. By 13:30 I had a stonking headache and part of the top aligner was rubbing on my inner lip. I stuck some orthodontic wax on it, which did the trick, and took two paracetamol, which barely made any difference.
The plastic in my mouth made it feel dry and sticky so I was constantly swigging away at water to try to ease the feeling of dryness.
I was also starting to feel a bit sick because I was so hungry, but the thought of eating made me wince because I knew it would mean taking the aligners out, being exposed to the attachment spikes, chewing with teeth that ached and then a massive clean and floss job before putting them back in for more pain.
I may not be eating very much over the coming days.
I finally caved and made lunch at about 14:15. I prepared everything in advance and made enough food that I wouldn’t need to eat for at least 4-5 hours (bean and veg soup, 2 slices GF bread with nut butter and avocado, banana, 2 GF biscuits and a cup of decaf tea):
Getting the aligner off the top wasn’t too bad, aside from drooling everywhere, but the bottom one kind of shifted and then snapped back into position because my nail wasn’t strong enough to leverage it. Unfortunately it also caught a tiny bit of the skin on my lip and trapped it between the bottom of the aligner and my tooth. Oh lordy. It hurt SO much that I wrenched the damn thing off to free my lip and stop the pain. I need to work on my technique there, I think.
Eating with all the attachments cemented to your teeth makes it feel like you have eaten half a pack of digestives and left all the crumbs stuck in your mouth. I kept running my tongue over my teeth to clean them, but none of it was coming off. I also have a weird attachment that sits at the top of one of my teeth so that when I bite together, the first contact is between a top tooth and the attachment. Kind of like a permanent fruit pip stuck to your teeth. I had to chew really gently because a) I was afraid of knocking it off and b) my teeth are sore and I didn’t want them to chomp down on the cement.
Then I did the entire clean-up, floss, clean the aligners job and put them back in. My headache subsided after that, so I think it was actually a hunger headache more than anything else.
I needed two more balls of wax on sharp bits over the course of the afternoon, and wasn’t really fit for anything other than making the kids all watch TV with me. If I’d been on my own I would have just gone to bed and slept. My teeth felt like they were in a vice. I cannot wait for this to wear off – I know it does, it’s just so horrible waiting for it.
To be honest, I really could have done with the children all going to nursery/school instead of staying home due to snow (Thursday is normally a work day for me). I swear – when your teeth ache as much as mine have today it’s not an easy job being a parent. They were all in bed by 18:45 because I couldn’t take any more. If I’d had the option I’d have gone off somewhere by myself for the weekend to watch distracting videos and sleep off the aching. I can imagine that if you have the free time to do this (i.e. you aren’t a parent and you can take a holiday from school/work), then Invisalign really isn’t too bothersome at all.
I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t get hungry and I could just go to bed without eating anything, but I’m just not the kind of person that can forgo food, so I had to go through the whole eating thing again. Oh man. It’s horrible taking the aligners on and off when your teeth are so sore. Getting them off the second time was probably the most painful point of the day. Everything else was more of an ache. The second removal actually made me cry out as I tried to prise the aligner off the back teeth. My teeth felt so sore in the jawbone.
I had a shop-bought veggie curry and boiled some brown rice (thank goodness for soft food). Then I cleaned the aligners, cleaned my teeth, flossed my teeth (much easier where the dentist shaved off some enamel!), used interdental brushes on my teeth, checked my teeth in the mirror and put them back in. I filled a hot water bottle, washed my face, and went to bed early. Day 1 done.